I liked Titanic. Guess which category I fell into?
We'd been seeing promos for Titanic since early in the summer, and I admit that my interest became peaked. Despite the title, the trailers were suggesting a film that was not actually ABOUT the Titanic, more that the ship was a setting or a catalyst for the events that transpire. Now I haven't seen all that many movies focusing on the Titanic, but hey, this seemed a little different. As the trailers over the months became more elaborate (the special effects catching my eye, I admit ... I like techincal wizardry), I decided that I would have to make an effort to see it. Thusly did my own string of bad luck begin.
If you read my look at '97, then you know already that I had attempted to see this movie on New Year's Eve, but it had sold out. My mother wanted to see it as well, which made our usual matinees out of the question. I usually have Wednesdays and Thursdays off, but my schedule was messed up due to the holidays, so we were going to see the movies Tuesday night. Mike then stated that he wanted to go also, which lead us to settle on the 8pm Wednesday showing. Bad move.
This is no longer news to some of you, but upon leaving the theater, I took a rather bad turn (literally) and totalled my car, Locke. I'm glad I enjoyed the movie, because it was damned expensive. But anyway, this is a movie review, not a bitch about my car. I mention this mainly to give an excuse for this review not being as specific, in-depth or detailed as I'd like, my mind having been occupied with other information 10 minutes after the movie let out. I also offer up the fact that the bloody thing lasts over three hours. I'm lucky if I can remember if I had lunch or not, details tend to elude me sometimes. But I shall try.
It's possible that I'm a little biased, I should say that now. Both biased and ignorant. I like disasters. Things that push the human spirit to its limits. I enjoy watching how different people react to the same crisis - which ones keep their heads, which ones lose theirs ... These things fascinating me. Well, this movie was loaded with that, along with your traditional societal differences (which were so emphasized in this film that is ceased to become realistic before long ... more on that later). The ignorant part stems from my knowledge of the Titanic disaster itself. I'd imagine an increase of knowledge would either raise my level of enjoyment or lower it, depending upon how accurate the film is. My point here being that I don't know much more about the icident than what the film showed me. Just bear that in mind if I'm enthusiastically cheering about something that is historially or factually a wash-out.
Okay, I think I've blathered on enough and I'm probabLy boring you by now, time to get to movie itself. It opened fairly innocuously, with what appears to be a routine exploratory dive to the ship. It seemed to me as though those little robot thingies should have ... I dunno, warped under the pressure of the ocean, if you listen to the lead scientist carry on. Or at least the fairly flimsy looking cable that attached them to the ship, you'd think that would have buckled or something. And I was slightly puzzled also, because I was sure I'd heard reports about divers actually going into the ship itself, which is completely contradictory to their information. I'm willing to bet more that I'm wrong than they are, however, so it was more a momentary query and not enough to distract me too much.
Around halfway through the movie we get a nice glimpse at both worlds that are tentatively co-existing on the ship; the upper crust, with their superficial and mind-numbingly boring conversation, expensive and lackluster dinners, and a general air about everything that was so fake it made you want to scream. A perfect contrast to the inhabitants in the bowels of the ship. Some cheap beer, a stale crust of bread, and an enthusiastic home-made band, and the poverty-stricken were happy as could be. Well, until they're being barred in by the staff, that is. So many social and class issues here ... and we were fortunate enough to get bludgeoned by them all. I appreciate that while social standing was not only an underlying theme but a driving force for the action of the movie, I could have done without having it shoveled down my throat at every turn.
Jack and Rose, drawings, steamy handprints, diamonds, etc. etc. You can keep all the rest of that stuff, we're hitting the REALLY good part! You know, one of things about the movie that I find really fascinating? The fact that every single person going in there knew what the ultimate result would be. The ship would sink. This is a given. And within the first 15 minutes of the movie, you also knew that Rose would survive. These are two major plot points of the movie, and the resolution is known before the thing has really started. Cameron manages to work this to his advantage, and does a fine job of it. Yeah, you KNOW the ship will sink, you KNOW that most of the people getting on will never get off again, but this knowledge only serves to make you more anxious as the ship edges closer towards the iceburg, not to mention all the little things that could have been done differently to prevent the whole mess. Me, I think I blame the guy who could "smell ice." Just cuz.
Major Spoiler Warning, right ahead!
Yeah, I admit it, it was sad when Jack died. I'm not sure that the story could have ended any other way, but it was sad nevertheless. Hell, just seeing all the dead bodies floating there was pretty damned sad, particularly the mother and her baby. And here's an interesting moral choice for each of us regarding the life boats. The sailor who was telling Molly Brown that they couldn't go back because the survivors would overturn them had a point. Despite being half frozen, adrenaline can drive the human body to do some incredible things, especially when you toss in a healthy dose of blind panic and a serious will to live. Sure, we can look at it from our cozy warm chairs and think "Of course I would go back!" But would you? 'Tis an interesting thing to ponder on.
Still, Rose keeps her promise and she lives, changing her name and doing gods know what until the movie opens. She decides for whatever reason that she doesn't need the diamond anymore (and I could come up with any one of a number of literarily appeasing reasons, but they'd all be the sort of BS I put on essay finals, so I won't bother), and casts into the ocean, over the wreckage of the ship.
While what actually happens just as the movie ends is debatable - at least it was between myself and a friend - I was quite pleased to see everyone. I was even more pleased to notice the poor, tortured Captain finally able to break himself out of the personal hell in which he had obviously been kept long enough to applaude with the rest of the gathering, no matter how long it took him to do so. Very nice, very subtle touch. A little bit of redemption for everyone. Well, everyone except for Cal. <evil grin>